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Environment: journeys through a changing world

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Our world is changing fast – we are experiencing pressure from climate change, growing demands for finite resources and the extinction of many plants and animals. Environment: journeys through a changing world introduces you to environmental studies and the issues arising from environmental change. It shows how people are seeking positive solutions to environmental challenges where you live, in the Arctic, Africa, the Amazon and China. It also develops the key skills and concepts needed to understand our changing world. You do not need any prior environmental knowledge to study this key introductory Level 1 module, just an interest in the future of our planet.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1625.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£1625.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1625.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£1625.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1465.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£1465.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

Are you interested in global environmental issues; how living and non-living things interact; how humans are changing the planet and are now responding to the difficult challenges this brings? If you are looking for a single module that offers a general introduction to studying the environment, then this is the module for you. You can either study it on its own or, if you wish to embark on a programme of study, it will provide the ideal foundation for a range of environment, science, social science and technology modules, diplomas and degrees.

We are living in a period of unparalleled global change: of rising population and a dramatic growth in economic wealth and technological capacity. However, this interconnected world is changing so fast that people have to work hard to understand and address the environmental issues generated by rapid economic and technological development. Studying this module will enable you to explore how and why different parts of the world are changing and how people, plants and animals are living within their changing environment. The module will show you how people are striving to manage and protect the many features of the world that we all share. It will help you to make sense of some of the stories that you hear and read about in the media, from wildlife extinctions to plans for new, greener cities. By the end of the module you will be more able to follow the debates about environmental issues and play an active part in addressing some of the great environmental challenges of the day.

Studying this module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to help you to become more informed about both the causes and concerns of environmental change. The module will take you to some of the most fascinating but also important parts of the planet in terms of understanding environmental change. This journey through our interconnected world will take in:

Block 1 Setting out from home: Rather like reading a travel guide in preparation for a journey, the first block introduces some of the language and ideas that you need to make sense of environmental change. You start by looking at two crucial global issues – loss of biodiversity and climate change – to get a sense of the influence of people on a dynamic planet. You then assess your own environmental impact in terms of your ‘carbon footprint’ and consider how to reduce it towards a more sustainable level.

Block 2 Arctic approach: This block explores a place that has long fascinated researchers, artists and adventurers. It is now thought of as a kind of early warning system for global warming and climate change. You will be given a sense of the different ways in which environmental change is investigated, communicated and experienced by the scientists who now work there and the societies who have been living there for centuries.

Block 3 Nile limits: This takes in a very diverse region of tropical forest, desert, agricultural land and cities, which makes it an illuminating place to explore environmental conflicts and efforts to overcome them by cooperation. Block 3 focuses on two issues: water resources, in particular the multiple uses of and conflicts over the Nile’s water supply; and wildlife conservation, focusing on how to support a population of threatened African mountain gorillas by balancing conservation with local community development.

Block 4 Life in the Amazon: This block investigates the richest storehouse of the world’s biological diversity. You will develop an understanding of the environmental science of tropical forests by exploring their role in global carbon and water cycles, and also as a genetic storehouse. Block 4 will discuss how your own daily choices as a consumer connect to the fate of what has been called ‘the Earth’s lungs’.

Block 5 Changing China: The pace of economic and environmental change is perhaps greater in this most populous country than anywhere else on the planet. You will follow the migration of people from countryside to city – the largest migration in human history – and gain insights into the difficult balancing act of growing sufficient food and bringing wealth and new opportunities to people in developing countries, without further damaging the world’s environment.

Block 6 Cities and sustainability: Cities now hold over half the world’s population and use or control most of the world’s resources. The final destination in your journey is the world’s first truly global city – London. It had to develop systems for supplying water, energy and transport to make a city healthy and workable, and its history may point to lessons for future city living. You will explore ideas and plans for making cities economically, socially and environmentally more sustainable as part of a more general exploration of what it means to be a concerned and responsible global citizen in the twenty-first century.

The module is presented as six block texts, together with supporting material provided by DVD and online via the website. Each block focuses on major environmental concepts illustrated by the places you visit. In addition, study notes throughout the module will help you to improve your study skills and develop your ability to become an independent learner.

Studying this module gives you an opportunity to acquire the necessary skills that can equip you not only to join the global environmental debate but also to study further modules in environment, science, social science and technology.

You will learn

By studying a range of subjects, drawn from the natural sciences, technology and the social sciences, you will become more aware of the contributions each discipline makes to our understanding of environmental issues and concerns.

You will also explore how people from these different fields bring together their various perspectives to help understand the many interactions between the environment, organisations and human cultures and values. This sharing of different approaches can lead to new ways of thinking about environmental problems, balancing alternative interpretations and conflicting interests, and hopefully generating new solutions.

Vocational relevance

At the same time as studying the environment, this module will also develop your reading, writing, analytical and communication skills. It will help you evaluate information and arguments, interpret and use data in a variety of graphical and numerical forms, use computers for information-searching, communication and software applications, and become an independent learner. Such skills and attributes are highly valued by employers because they can be applied to a wide variety of new contexts.

Entry

This is a key introductory Level 1 module. Level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, to help you progress to modules at Level 2. 

Environment: journeys through a changing world is an interdisciplinary introduction to environmental issues that will help you to develop the necessary skills for studying at more advanced levels, such as the Level 2 module Environment: sharing a dynamic planet (DST206). It offers a great deal of help with study skills, such as taking notes, writing essays and basic scientific expressions. By the end of the module, you will be expected to be working at the level required of first year undergraduate students. We would like to encourage students from as wide a range of backgrounds as possible to study with us.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and mathematical, scientific or foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

This module includes use of a website and multi-media web-based activities, most of which should be accessible if you use assistive technology. However, where they may not be fully accessible, additional resources are provided to improve accessibility. Some of these activities may require sighted help for those with visual impairment.

If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in operating a computer or the internet and have any concerns about accessing the types of study materials outlined you are advised to talk to our Student Registration & Enquiry Service about support which can be given to meet your needs. An Accessibility Guide for this module is available from your tutor at the start of the module.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Six module books, other printed materials, DVD containing activities and short television sequences, website including activities, resources and optional supplementary website materials.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course. It includes online activities – you can access using a web browser – and some course software provided on disk.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer running Windows since 2007 you should have no problems completing the computer-based activities.
  • A netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device is not suitable for this course – check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that you can only use it for this course by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. If you are new to the OU, you will find that your tutor is particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper. For the module starting in February 2014, you must submit your final TMA online through the eTMA system.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014 and February 2015. We expect it to be available twice a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code U116
Credits 60
OU Level 1
SCQF level 7
FHEQ level 4
Course work includes:
7 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
No residential school

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